Fernando Torres fit for Cardiff clash
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has declared Fernando Torres fit for this weekend's game at home to Cardiff City, with the striker having recovered from a recent knee injury.
Torres, 29, injured his knee during the Champions League defeat of Steaua Bucharest earlier this month and had to come off just 11 minutes into the game.
However, despite having been predicted to be on the sidelines for three weeks, the Spain international has returned to fitness ahead of schedule.
"He's ready," Mourinho said. "The medical department and the player have been very good, good dedication and work during this period. Every day twice, every day almost all day, good dedication. So he's back.
“We have now the three [strikers] available. I want to have problems. By having the players to choose, I don't want players injured. I don't want an easy selection, I want a difficult selection.
“I have Fernando and [Samuel] Eto'o and Demba [Ba], all three ready, and we need that. After 15 days of no football, now we have three competitions at the same time. We are very pleased that people put our game against Arsenal just one day after the game against [Manchester] City. So we need everybody.”
Mourinho declined to comment on whether Torres would start against Cardiff, saying he will be hiding the team from his players until closer to kick-off.
"He doesn't know. Nobody knows,” he said. “Today I was doing tactical work, but I was not wanting to show the players who is going to play. We did tactical work but I mixed the players and the teams, so they don't know who will play.”
Ashley Cole and Andre Schurrle are certain to miss out, however, with Mourinho reserving mild criticism for the manner in which Schurrle got injured while on international duty with Germany.
"Ashley is not selected. It depends on the pain. It's not a dangerous situation, but it's very painful,” he said. “At this moment the pain persists. He can't train at the moment. If Monday, he can train and has a chance for the Champions League, but I have my doubts...
“[Ryan] Bertrand is more than ready, though. He's going to play his first minutes in the Premier League this season because I've never given him a chance, but only because I wanted to keep some stability in the team.
“While I was changing the attacking positions, defensively I wanted to give stability to the team, so I kept my back four every game, changing the centre-backs a bit, but [Cesar] Azpilicueta and Bertrand are very good players and more than ready to play. I want AC [Cole] back, but it's not a problem he's not playing. Bertrand is more than ready.
“Schurrle is the only one [injured]. It's the kind of problem that happens a lot in World Cup years, which is a player with a little problem who wants to play in the national team and comes back injured to the club. That's normal. That's acceptable.
“He has a little problem in a muscle and we cannot risk. So he's out. But no problem. Of course, he was in good form and playing well, but we have other players and options. It's not a problem. We have good enough players in that position, good enough options. It's a chance for another one to play. He hurt a muscle in his leg.”
Mourinho expects his reshuffled team to face a tough game this weekend, despite the uncertainty over Malky Mackay's future following Cardiff owner Vincent Tan's decision to get rid of head of recruitment Iain Moody.
“I don't think it's a problem for the dressing room. It's a problem for the club, for the closed circle, for Mackay, for the owner, but it doesn't touch the players or the dressing room,” he said.
“They are motivated. They play in the Premier League, are getting results. They beat Man City, won away from home, have experienced players and players in international duty, who come back with good results -- the boys from Chile and Iceland -- and good feelings. It's for the owner, not the boys.”